Enchanting Creations specializes in edible art created under the direction of owner and head designer Karen Matamoros. Karen and her husband, Alex, decided to open the bakery shop in their backyard after living in the community for more than two decades. In their free time, they pour themselves into art-⎯expressing themselves by painting murals, designing fashion, and building custom furniture⎯and the bakery has become an additional extension of their creative sides.
In running the bakery, they take their artistic aspirations to new heights with 3-D cakes: edible sculptures that represent a variety of cartoon characters and inanimate objects, such as a ribbon-wrapped present, Spider-Man, or a giant bowling ball. Their smaller treats—including cake pops, pastries, and cupcakes—combine rich cocoa, fresh fruits, fluffy cake, and sugary sweet icing into bite-size portions and delicate desserts. Testifying to Enchanting Creations' dedication to the environment, all orders ship out in eco-friendly boxes, unlike most bakery goods, which are packaged in wasteful styrofoam boxes, surrounded by styrofoam peanuts, and topped with styrofoam sprinkles.
Village Café plates up a menu of salads, sandwiches, and inspired entrees in a European bistro setting. The crispy goat cheese appetizer ($9.95) waves a casual "Ciao" atop crostini, while the Village Cobb salad ($10.95) scoots by on a Dijon vinaigrette-fueled Vespa. Fungiphiles fancy the portabella panini ($8.95), with its grilled, marinated mushrooms and melted mozzarella, and the meat lover's pizza (small $10.95) satisfies any yearning passion for protein. Dinner diners choose from mains such as the mint and pistachio-crusted lamb (8 oz $17.95) accompanied by roasted garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus spears, or linguine with garlic, white wine, and fresh clams ($16.95).
Mooie's furnishes unoccupied stomachs with an ample array of hot and cold comestibles in an energetic, family-oriented environment. Transform a wheat or spinach BLT wrap ($5.95) into a BATLOG wrap by adding arugula, onions, and garlic oil, or thaw out freezer-burned buds with a hot roast-beef-and-cheddar sandwich ($7.95).
From behind an ultramodern lounge filled with jewel-toned sofas, exposed-brick walls, and black leather booths, Trio on The Bay's chefs forge a menu of surf 'n' turf, using local vendors and sustainable practices whenever possible. On the patio overlooking Biscayne Bay, waiters swing from canopies bearing sizzling steaks accompanied by locally grown vegetables or pan-seared scallops with a wild mushroom risotto and lemon crème fraîche. Chefs also cater to off-hour hunger pangs with Sunday-morning brunch and bar snacks, which blend the seafood hub’s signature flavors into palatable egg dishes and portable snacks.
Trio on The Bay hosts special events every Friday and Saturday night beginning at 10 p.m. Revelers head to the chandelier-sprinkled lounge to take in the flat-screen TVs and vacation slide shows from 1973, or retire to the outdoor patio's cushioned rattan chairs for drinks under the illumination of light-festooned palm trees and fire pits.
Gaucho Ranch's beef comes straight from the grassy lowlands of Uruguay, where cattle roam free like bovine bikers in search of the meaning of life, all while gauchos, the traditional South American cowboys, whisper sweet nothings into their ears. Fed on natural grass and clover, these cows will later magically turn into rib-eye steaks ($44.99 for four 12 oz. steaks), burgers ($6.99 for a pound), and picanha ($26.29 for three pounds) with lower cholesterol, lower fat, and more beta-carotene, Omega-3, and vitamin E than cuts of beef from cows gorging on corn feed or leftover pizza.
Le Café Bistro treats Francophile tastes with classic French dishes served in an eclectic, cozy atmosphere. Diners can choose from a slew of starters populating the varied bistro menu. Begin with authentic escargot ($7), or savor the french onion soup topped with a baked cheese-and-bread beret ($5). Classics, such as croque-monsieur sandwiches ($7), rib-eye steak with crispy frites ($15), and succulent braised-beef bourguignon served with mashed potatoes and rice ($14), give this spot a je ne sais quoi that's particularly difficult to describe. Crack through the caramelized sugar crust of a vanilla-bean crème brûlée ($5) while sipping a beverage from the drink menu, which touts various wines, beer options, and Segafredo coffee and tea.